By Cheryl Mah
The Lunar New Year celebration is usually loaded with Chinese traditions and culture. Truthfully, I have never understood or participated in the superstitions tagged to the festival. Although I grew up in a Christian family, I would frequently hear things like “it is bad luck to sweep the floor on Lunar New Year because we will sweep all the good luck away”, being requested not to dress in black because “it’s bad luck” and being told I was “lucky” if I won any card games. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
It was often confusing to me because what was practiced in our household during the festive season was contrary to the Christian teachings I learnt. If we are Christians, why do we believe in “luck” instead of God’s blessings?
When I got married and started my own family, I decided not to practice any of the superstitious beliefs I grew up with. There’s no filling up the rice bucket before the Lunar New Year, no more participation in playing card games (gambling) in the hopes of being “lucky” or avoiding sweeping away “luck” in the home. Neither do I shy away from wearing black, or red, or in fact any other colours merely for the sake of attracting “good luck” (or avoiding bad luck). I refrain from such practices NOT because I am self-righteous, but because I am trying to teach my young children the Truth – and unlike my younger self I do not want to carry out activities that are contrary to biblical teachings.
Our sovereign God rules over all things, which means He not only governs and directs, but also sustains all things on earth – including humankind. There is no luck or chance – or coincidences – because it is God at work in every detail of our lives. Moreover, everything good or bad happens by the will of God (Jeremiah 29:11). When we believe in God, we should also trust in His divine providence (Deuteronomy 8:3) – and not be swayed to perform specific rituals or avoid certain taboos to obtain “luck” or blessings.
Since we are followers of Christ, we ought to be wary of being influenced by cultural superstitions; rather we must always choose to rely on Christ alone for anything and everything we need. We can still celebrate our ethnic culture and tradition, albeit a Christ-centred one. We do not need to ‘earn’ blessings from God. Indeed, any blessings that come from God is dependant on His grace alone (Ephesians 2:8) – this means that even those of us who are undeserving may be able to receive God’s blessings!
As we prepare to celebrate this upcoming Lunar New Year, let us remember that all good things come from none other than God Himself (James 1:17). May we choose to stand on His promises (Luke 1:37) and continue to give thanks and praise to Him even amidst the feasting and merrymaking.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.